WASHINGTON – The drama surrounding the ever-expanding college cheating scandal escalated to new heights Wednesday, when an expelled Georgetown junior sued the elite university with a lawyer currently battling the president of the United States.
Attorney Mark S. Zaid will serve as local counsel on behalf of expelled Georgetown junior Adam Semprevivo. Mr. Zaid typically handles cases involving national security and the Freedom of Information Act.
The high-profile Washington lawyer currently represents former White House communications aide Cliff Sims, now locked in a legal battle over his tell-all book about President Donald J. Trump.
The new lawsuit tied to the college admissions scandal involves Mr. Semprevivo’s assertion that he was expelled from Georgetown without proper due process. Mr. Semprevivo is 21 years old and has not been charged with a crime in relation to the scandal.
The former student contends he knew nothing about actions involving alleged bribery, and was only a minor at the time of the criminal conspiracy.
His father, Stephen Semprevivo, pleaded guilty last week to fraud charges. Prosecutors alleged the sales executive from Los Angeles paid a $400,000 bribe to help his son gain admission to Georgetown as a recruited member of the tennis team.
The elder Semprevivo is scheduled to be sentenced in September. A Georgetown spokesperson said two students will be expelled from the university, but declined to provide their names.
Semprevivo's legal action marks the first time in the national cheating scandal that a student has fought back with a lawsuit.
While parents once flocked to the alleged criminal scheme, prosecutors said the script finally flipped when the father sensed the peril of a growing IRS audit of the fake non-profit allegedly used to hide millions in bribes.
"All I know is that we, you know, we used you for the charity stuff and we used you for the counseling, and your dealings are your dealings," Mr. Semprevivo said in a recorded phone call to a cooperating witness who admitted guilt.
"I think that you need to be accountable for what you did. So I don’t want to talk about this any more."